How Fiberon technology creates beautiful backyards
In the early days of the composite decking industry, boards were manufactured using a mono-extrusion process. Raw materials were blended together and then extruded under extreme heat and pressure through a customized die. While the boards did not splinter, crack, or rot like wood, they were prone to scratching, staining, and fading. And, because the decking was uncapped (meaning, there was no protective layer over the core), some brands experienced mold and mildew problems as well.
Fiberon changed all that with co-extrusion
Always an innovation leader, Fiberon mainstreamed the use of co-extrusion in the manufacture of composite decking. Co-extrusion is a process by which two or more materials pass through the same die simultaneously. The result is a single, new piece that still maintains the unique beneficial properties of the original materials. In the case of Fiberon decking, the co-extrusion process fuses a protective outer layer to an inner wood-plastic core. This outer layer is known in the industry as a capstock – hence the term, “capped composite decking.”
Capped boards are incredibly resistant to staining, fading, moisture, and insect infestation. They won’t splinter or degrade, and are easy to maintain. An annual soap and water cleaning is generally all that’s needed to keep them looking like new.
And while we often refer to this outer layer as a “cover” or “cap,” that doesn’t mean it is something that could potentially pop off or otherwise separate from the inner portion of the board. Fused to the core, the capstock – along with the exceptional stain and fade resistance it offers – is permanent.
Four-sided capping on Symmetry Decking provides exceptional stain and fade resistance.
Multiple extruders; one carefully controlled process
Fiberon uses multiple extruders during the manufacturing process. Each extruder holds measured quantities of raw materials comprising the inner core and capstock. Among the raw materials are wood flour (acquired from ground-up door frames, window trim, and cabinetry) and plastics acquired from laundry detergent bottles, milk jugs, and other products that we recycle in-house. To learn more about our recycling process, check out this recent post.
Anti-oxidants and other surface protectants are also added to the mix, along with color additives. Here, timing is critical. The team works to ensure that precise amounts of color are added at exactly the right moment. This attention to detail is what gives our deck boards their rich, multi-tonal look and distinctive streaking.
Precise formulations and perfect timing are essential to achieving the rich, multi-toned look of Symmetry Decking, shown here in Cinnabar.
When the raw ingredients are mixed, melted, and at the ideal temperature, the extruders deliver them to the dies. Fiberon’s sophisticated dies encapsulate the core with the cap, carefully controlling product dimensions to meet rigid specifications. Once the boards have been extruded, embossing wheels imprint wood grain patterns directly onto the board surface. This creates the realistic wood appearance that differentiates Fiberon products from other brands.
Strict quality testing ensures reliable performance, lasting durability
Fiberon conducts strict quality testing throughout manufacturing and post-production. This ensures that product dimensions are accurate and consistent, and that the boards exhibit appropriate break strength and resistance to high humidity, freeze-thaw cycles, and thermal expansion. Simply put, that means Fiberon decking can withstand repeated exposure to moisture, snow, ice, and sun without warping, cracking, splintering, or fading. Not all composite decking and railing manufacturers have the same strict specifications for raw materials, manufacturing, or quality testing. Consequently, their products may be more likely to degrade over time.
Fiberon quality assurance testing in progress
Innovative manufacturing processes, coupled with careful attention to detail and strict quality measures, are what set Fiberon composite decking boards apart from the others.
See how our co-extrusion process keeps your deck looking new in this short video below: